Gawking at history in France

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 04:26 PM.

Each and every town square reeks of history, although all are now filled with tourists and cameras. Typically built around fountains, they served as meeting places and water sources for citizens and their animals.

One fountain we visited had four spouts spewing water and a simple and ingenious structure allowing humans and animals to share the common source. Underneath each spout was a flat stone upon which buckets were placed to fill before the fresh water co-mingled with the fountain’s pool.

Animals drank from the common pool but "their" water didn’t contaminate potable water flowing pure from the spouts. I’m surprised at the practice given their lack of knowledge about germs and bacteria. I guess the smells involved were enough reason even without knowing about micro-biotic dangers.

We sailed on to Majorca, Spain, which turned out to be our favorite — at least for now. The place is absolutely beautiful with a village atmosphere and rich history.

Unlike everywhere else, this place didn’t seem foreign. I think that was because — call me crazy — the place "felt" a little like Swansboro, quaint and comfortable. We toured Palma, had some serious chocolate and cookies in a garden table setting and watched the folks go about their daily routines.

All of these places we’ve visited so far have one thing very much in common: Tourism is the main engine of their economies; everything else finishes a distant second. So it’s not surprising everyone seemed courteous and pleasant, absent of any bad vibes whatsoever.

Of course I’m smart enough to know one can be anti-American and still be pro-American Express. Viva la cash register!

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